Manufacturing the Future:
Protolabs Supports Education through its Foundation
For more than 20 years, Protolabs has been the world’s leading digital manufacturing source for rapid prototyping and on-demand production of custom parts for companies in medical, aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics, and other industries. Headquartered in Maple Plain, with additional facilities in Plymouth, Brooklyn Park, and Rosemount, as well as North Carolina, New Hampshire, and five other countries, Protolabs is a high growth, technology-enabled company leading the Industry 4.0 transformation with digital manufacturing.
In order to continue to be successful and attract and retain the brightest talent—and at the same time give back to the community by encouraging underserved youth to take interest in science and technology—the company has long supported educational programs through its Protolabs Foundation. Support has especially focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. The Foundation has made grants over the last several years to a variety of STEM programs in various schools and organizations in Minnesota (in addition to funding STEM programs beyond Minnesota in communities where Protolabs has facilities).
For 2020, the Foundation supported education on several fronts:
Provided $100,000 in emergency funding earlier this year to the Foundation’s STEM grantees in Minnesota to assist them during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contributed $50,000 in July to ConnectedMN, an education initiative formed this summer with the goal of bringing tech devices and internet access to students across Minnesota, especially communities most in need, including Indigenous students and students of color, students from low-income families, and families residing in rural areas.
Supported, with a $25,000 contribution, the newly created North Star Network, formed in August to start seven community-based Zoom learning labs or “pods” for the school year for selected K-12 students in Minneapolis. These pods are intended to supplement students’ regular distance learning through their schools by providing tutors, a quiet learning space, and, most important, connected technology.